Perfect venue for the mother-in-law jokes: Former registry office reborn as ‘C nova’ for Fringe shows

The former registry office at India Buildings
The former registry office at India Buildings
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ONE of the Capital’s most elegant Victorian buildings is set to become the largest new venue at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Forty shows have been confirmed at India Buildings, formerly the Registry Office on Victoria Street, which is currently awaiting renovation.

Its Festival venue name will be C nova, and it will feature three studio spaces – including one in the basement vault – as well as a cabaret bar with high ceilings and chandeliers, and two floors for “site specific/immersive” shows.

Performances and activities will take place across all seven floors, including arts exhibitions, workshops and educational activities.

Shows held within the 19th-century building in the Old Town will include theatre, comedy, musicals and children’s shows.

Among them will be The Flanagan Collective’s Little Festival of Everything, which will have its own dedicated studio with eight shows, including the return of the family show, William.

Belt Up Theatre’s new adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess will also entertain the crowds, as well as its acclaimed shows The Boy James and Outland.

The controversial Australian company MKA will present The Economist, which is a response to the Anders Breivik massacre.

C venues, which has a track record of transforming forgotten buildings and unusual locations into vibrant festival spaces, will transform the building for the festival.

Hartley Kemp, artistic director of C venues, said: “We are really excited about creating a unique festival venue in this landmark city centre building. C nova will make full use of the architecture, heritage and character of India Buildings, and we are looking forward to offering Fringe artists and audiences something very special.

“I think part of the building has been used for the Fringe before. This will be the first time the whole building has been used for the Fringe. There will be six performance spaces seating 50 to 60, so around 300 people will be watching performances at once. We will be running up to ten to 12 performances a day in some of the spaces.

“We like to give all our venues a name so they’re unique. Nova means a star that’s suddenly increased in brightness for a short period of time and also means new, so it seemed like a fantastic choice.”

Mr Kemp added that C venues will say farewell to the C SoCo venue on Chambers Street this year after five years, as work has begun on rebuilding the site.

India Buildings has been unused in recent years following the departure of a language school and the Registry Office, where city TV star Gail Porter got married to Dan Hipgrave in 2001.

West Register and the city council are working in partnership to bring forward plans for a new hotel which will sit alongside the proposed refurbishment of the Central Library.

Director of West Register, Joss Brushfield, added: “West Register is delighted to support the Edinburgh Festival through the use of India Buildings as a venue whilst we work with Edinburgh council on regeneration plans, including the development of a new hotel and their refurbishment of the Central Library.”